Jet lag, tantrums, endless ice-cream requests – sometimes a holiday with the kids can feel anything but relaxing. But with a bit of forward planning, you can make sure you not only survive your family holiday, but really enjoy it. Here are our tried-and-tested tips for jetting off with little ones in tow:
This is especially important for the journey, when check-in queues and long flights can often equal bored, grumpy children. Take advantage of kids’ luggage allowances to pack them a bag of their favourite toys, books and games to take on the plane. Take a few new ones to bring out along the journey, too. Book into an airport lounge to avoid noisy, busy terminals (you’ll get free access with Sovereign) and avoid long coach journeys at the other end with a private transfer that’ll take you straight to your hotel (another Sovereign perk).
The days of cramming a week’s worth of clothes into a carry-on are probably over, but you can still be savvy with your packing. Start by checking what your hotel can provide – lots can offer things like buggies, bottle warmers and sterilisers. We love the Baby-Go-Lightly service at the Hotel Almyra in Cyprus, which gives you the option of pre-booking everything from potties and baby bathtubs to nappies and wet wipes. This frees up a lot of luggage space for the kids’ sunhats and t-shirts.
Pick your hotel carefully
Staying at a property that’s geared up for families makes life a lot simpler. They’ll have fantastic facilities for little ones (kids’ clubs, splash pools, playgrounds), but they’ll offer extras like early meal sittings that mean you don’t have to change routine too much – no tiredness-fuelled tantrums or toddlers falling asleep before the starters have even arrived. If you’ve got older kids who like keeping busy, look for somewhere that offers sports academies. The Porto Elounda in Crete features an Arsenal football camp and courses in tennis and golf, while Sardinia’s Forte Village resort offers 10 different academies.
Make time for you
Of course you’ll want to spend time playing with the kids, but try and give yourself a break from sandcastle building and pool games once in a while. Take advantage of kids’ clubs, babysitting services or afternoon naps to get stuck into a new book or have a long, al fresco lunch. The Sani Resort in Halkidiki offers a brilliant beach service called ‘Babewatch’, where experienced staff will watch your kids while you have a swim or enjoy an hour’s sunbathing in peace.
Let the kids get involved
Get children excited beforehand by showing them photos of your destination – you could even let them be in charge of choosing an activity or excursion for one of the days. While you’re away, encourage them to keep a diary or save leaflets and restaurant cards to make a scrapbook with. Not only is it a fun project but it’ll be a lovely reminder of the holiday. Older kids could be in charge of taking photos. If you don’t fancy handing over an expensive camera, buy a couple of disposables – ones with waterproof casing are great fun to take in the pool.
Sovereign specialises in luxury holidays to the Mediterranean and beyond. To find out more or take a look at our family-friendly hotels, check out our website or give us a call on 01293 731 240 – we’ve got plenty of mums in the team who can give you first-hand advice and recommendations.